SEND Glossary of terms

We understand that sometimes particular language is used throughout SEND Local Offers that can be difficult to understand. On this page we have outlined key terms you may encounter throughout your journey, including acronyms, to explain their meaning in the SEND context.

Alternative Provision
Refers to education provided by the local authority for children who cannot, for some reason, attend a mainstream setting (and do not attend a special school). This is sometimes full-time and sometimes provided on a part-time basis alongside some attendance at the mainstream setting. Schools can also provide alternative provision for pupils.

Annual Review
The Review of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which a Local Authority (LA) must carry out within 12 months of making the EHCP and then on at least an annual basis.

If you do not agree with the choices your Local Authority have made about your child’s education, you can share your concerns via an appeal to a tribunal to consider changes.

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder  (ADHD)
A condition that affects people's behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse. 

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)

A lifelong development condition that affects a child’s development including communication, social interaction and understanding the world around them.

Cognition and Learning (C&L)
Cognition is the process of gaining and understanding information through our thoughts, experiences, and senses. Learning involves acquiring knowledge through experience, study, or being taught. Support for cognition and learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation and support.

Code of Practice for SEND
Guidance for Local Authorities and Schools in supporting young people, aged 0-25 years with SEND. This statutory code contains details of legal requirements that they must follow without exception and statutory guidance that they must follow by law unless there’s a good reason not to.

Delegated Funding
All mainstream schools receive money for special educational needs support and resources. Schools can decide how to spend this money. This is called “delegated” funding because it is given (delegated) to schools by local authorities or the Education Funding Agency from money they receive from central government.

Disagreement Resolution
Local Authorities must provide arrangements to help prevent or resolve disagreements between parents whose children have Special Educational Needs and the Local Authority or school. Using this service does not affect parents’ right to appeal to the SEN Tribunal.

Draft Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
This is a recommended Education, Health and Care Plan, offering parents 15 working days to comment or request adjustments before the Final EHCP is issued.

Early Years’ Settings
All pre-school education provision such as nursery classes and schools, day nurseries and play groups.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
A legal document that sets out a child’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and all the extra help they must receive.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Case Worker
The individual working within the SEN Team allocated to each child.

Educational Psychologist (Ed Psych) (EP)  
The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) provides psychological advice to schools, early years settings and other providers, for children and young people with complex educational needs. 

EHC Needs Assessment  (EHCNA)
A statutory process undertaken by the Local Authority to determine what support a child or young person needs. The outcome of this assessment can determine whether an Education, Health and Care Plan is required. 

Equalities Act
The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. 

Further Education (FE)
Further education includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree). Courses range from basic English and Maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

Graduated Approach
This is a process based on a four step cycle:

  • Assess – analyse the child or young person’s special educational needs
  • Plan – identify the additional and different support needed
  • Do – put the support in place
  • Review – regularly check how well it is working so that they can change the amount or kind of support needed

Some children and young people will make progress and no longer need SEN Support. Others with more complex, long-term needs will need more assess, plan, do, review cycles to make good progress.

Educating children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in mainstream (local) schools wherever possible.

Key Stages
Educational Stages that schools split year groups into:

  • Early Years (up to the end of Reception Class – ages 3 – 5)
  • Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2 – ages 5 – 7)
  • Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 – ages 7 to 11)
  • Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9 – ages 11 – 14)
  • Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11 – ages 14 – 16)
  • Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13 – ages 16 – 18)

Stands for Local Authority (Bath and North East Somerset).

Learning Difficulties
A Learning Difficulty is a type of Special Education Need, which affects areas of learning, such as reading, writing, spelling, mathematics etc. 

Learning Support Assistant (LSA)
An assistant providing in-school support for pupils with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. An LSA works under the direction of a class teacher as considered appropriate.

Mainstream School
A Local Authority maintained school that is not a special school. Mainstream schools form the majority of schools and include Infant, Junior, Primary and Secondary schools.

Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD)

People with greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and in understanding concepts. They may also have associated speech and language delay, low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and under-developed social skills. 

The ongoing assessment of work, progress, expenditure or achievement.

Multi Agency Team
Professionals from different specialisms (health/education/ social care/voluntary organisations) working together in the best interest of your child.

Multi Agency Meeting
Multi Agency Meetings are a key element of the process of successfully working with children and young people who have been identified as having unmet needs and require support from more than one agency/service to meet these needs. 

Involving professionals from a range of disciplines (usually Education, Social Care and Health).

Occupational Therapist (OT)
A professional employed by the Health Trust to work with the child, parents and teachers. Occupational Therapists use therapeutic techniques (advising on equipment and environmental adaptations where appropriate) to improve a child’s ability to access the physical and learning curriculum.

Outreach Services
Support services provided to schools or pupils by specialist professionals, for example, providing support for communication or behaviour difficulties.

A doctor specialising in the needs of babies and children.

Parent Carer

A parent of a child or young person with SEND is also considered a carer, and as such is entitled to support available to unpaid carers across B&NES.

Parent Carer Forum

Through feedback and consultations with parent carers, each Local Authority works in partnership with service commissioners and providers to help advocate for and raise the voice of parents and carers. They also run regular support groups for parent carers across their area. Here, our parent carer forum is B&NES Parent Carer Forum.

Personal Budget
This is money identified to pay for support specified in an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) for a child or young person with special educational needs. SEND Personal Budgets are designed to assist in providing more individualised and specialist support for children and young people and allow for more choice and control for families in how their educational support will work,

Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)
In addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils with PMLD have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care.

Resource Base
A Resource Base is a classroom or area for enhanced support, based within a mainstream school, providing education for pupils with a range of complex needs.

Stands for Speech and Language Therapist – they help children who have speech, language and communication difficulties, and also children with eating and drinking difficulties. 

Stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. A child is said to have a special educational need if they have learning difficulties that require special educational resources and provisions.


SENDIAS offer free, impartial and confidential information, advice and support to children and young people between the ages of 0 to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents/carers. Sendias Bathnes are provide this service within our area. 

SEN Support
When a class or subject teacher, working with the SENCo, identifies that a child has Special Educational Needs that require advice and/or support from outside agencies. They take action by giving help that is additional to, or different from, the help most other children have.

SEN Support Provision Plan
An SEN Support Provision Plan is a document that schools can complete over time, as part of the graduated approach, for pupils with a range of needs or a high level of need in a specific area.  It details the main areas of need, the provision that the school intend to put in place and the agencies responsible for supporting the provision.  Where necessary, schools can use this document to access additional funding to support pupils with complex needs in their setting or to support an application for a statutory assessment.,

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
Stands for Speech, Language and Communication Needs – pupils may have difficulties with expressive language or receptive language and/or processing difficulties.

Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD)
Pupils with severe learning difficulties have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and learning self-help skills. Pupils with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum.

Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH)
These are a special educational need where a child communicates through behaviour in response to unmet social, emotional or mental health needs. Children with SEMH needs often have difficulties in managing their emotions or their behaviour. They can show inappropriate responses to their emotions.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo)
A member of staff of a school or early education setting, who has responsibility for co-ordinating Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision within that school.

Special School
A school which is specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Education, Health and Care Plans whose needs cannot be met in a mainstream school.

Statutory Assessment
Statutory Assessment is a formal procedure, governed by law (Children’s and Families Act 2014) which involves the collection of detailed assessments of a child’s Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. Assessment works best when all involved (parents, school staff, health and social services, psychologists and other Local Authority staff), work in partnership to secure the best outcome for the child.

Transition Plan
A plan devised at the time of a Transition from one key stage to another, for example when a child moves from a mainstream to a specialist provision, or from primary to secondary school.